For nerds: A look below the hood of DALICC
How DALICC represents its licenses for machine-processability (10.06.2022)
Förderjahr 2021 / Projekt Call #16 / ProjektID: 5763 / Projekt: DALICC

Making data machine-readable means to apply an information meodel that defines the legitimate dependencies between concepts. In this post we give a a brief glimpse how we do that.

In order to represent license concepts in a structured machine-readable format we chose the ODRL policy expression language, which includes a flexible and interoperable information model and an extendable vocabulary. The ODRL information model is particularly suitable for modeling licenses in the form of policies that express permissions, prohibitions and duties related to the usage of assets. ODRL also defines a vocabulary of general terms (e.g., odrl:reproduce, odrl:distribute, odrl:modify) and can be further extended with terms from other vocabularies such as CC REL (e.g., cc:CommercialUse, cc:DerivativeWorks).

To express legally valid machinereadable representations of licenses, it was necessary to create additional terms (e.g., dalicc:perpetual as a validity type, dalicc:worldwide as a jurisdictional property, dalicc:chargeLicenseFee as permission and prohibition actions, and dalicc:modificationNotice as a duty action), which we called the DALICC vocabulary extension. A full documentation of our vacabulary is available here.

The figure below depicts the central role of odrl:Action in integrating the licenses, dependency graph and questionnaire.

DALICC information model


For mapping from license components to vocabulary terms, we considered both provenance information and rules. Provenance information is descriptive information about an asset such as creator (dct:title), licensor (dct:publisher), title (dct:title) etc. as well as information applicable to the license, such as its validity period (e.g. dalicc:validityType or dalicc:perpetual) or the region specification (e.g. cc:jurisdiction or dalicc:worldwide). To represent the main asset targets we used the Dublin Core vocabulary, which covers concepts such as: software, dataset, sound, text, image and moving image. The rule concept in turn represents common licensing conditions divided into three categories: permissions, duties (i.e., obligations), and prohibitions. As a result of the previous steps we can generalize a set of properties, which are used for representing legally valid licenses in a machine-readable way and suitable for reasoning and comparison with other licenses. This model can be applied for adding arbitrary new license to the RDF license library.




information model vocabulary RDF ODRL deontic logic

Tassilo Pellegrini

Profile picture for user Tassilo Pellegrini
Tassilo Pellegrini is co-director of the Institute for Innovation Systems and professor of economics at the University of Applied Sciences in St. Pölten, Austria. His research areas are data economics, policy-aware web and artificial intelligence. He is member of the International Network for Information Ethics (INIE), the African Network of Information Ethics (ANIE) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Publizistik und Kommunikationswissenschaft (DGPUK). He is co-founder of the Semantic Web Company in Vienna and Conference Chair of the annual I-SEMANTICS conference series founded in 2005.


data economics
IPR management
data and software licensing
policy aware systems
Diese Frage dient der Überprüfung, ob Sie ein menschlicher Besucher sind und um automatisierten SPAM zu verhindern.
    Der datenschutzrechtliche Verantwortliche (Internet Privatstiftung Austria - Internet Foundation Austria, Österreich) würde gerne mit folgenden Diensten Ihre personenbezogenen Daten verarbeiten. Dies ist für die Nutzung der Website nicht notwendig, ermöglicht aber eine noch engere Interaktion mit Ihnen. Falls gewünscht, treffen Sie bitte eine Auswahl: